Greater Texas Landscape Services – February 2014

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Greater Texas Landscape Services Newsletter
February, 2014

Seventh in Series: Focus on Texas Xeriscapes and Resource Conservation

Question of the Month: “I have commercial property in the Dallas/Ft Worth area and during the recent ice storm didn’t know what to do when may sidewalks and parking lot were covered in ice. Also, am wondering how much damage cold weather does to landscape plants.” This is a repeat question…..since ice/snow just keep coming!

The recent cold weather and ice caught a lot of people unaware. It seemed to appear suddenly and stay for a l-o-n-g time. The best action you can take is to have a PLAN! If you plan ahead, you will not have to worry about liability and/or damage.

We will give you an example of the ERT (Emergency Response Team) plan which GTL uses for its commercial customers and HOAs. Copy it, amend it or call GTL to help you be prepared.

(1) Pre order and store adequate quantities of a product called ice melt which will help reduce ice build up. (2) Keep equipment, tools and staff on hand and alert when an ice/snow/storm event is anticipated (3) Develop a communication plan (who is on call, who notifies, who stays available) (4) Be prepared to have staff/materials/equipment in close proximity to the site you are monitoring (5) Be prepared to visit the site with staff/materials several times (6) Anticipate clean up needed and post storm action

As they say in the Scouts…………Be Prepared

Regarding damage: It depends, It is possible to cover landscape materials/plants in sub freezing weather, but in large quantities, it is not always possible. Freeze damage can appear for up to 9-12 months (!) following the freeze. This vascular damage really shows up in the heat and stress of the summer. Freeze cloth is a good material for pots and small areas. Heaters are sometimes utilized in courtyards and amenity areas for delicate materials as well. Not always practical though!

Seventh Principle of Xeriscape: Maintenance
You cannot do all of the planning and prep work without considering how to maintain a good drought tolerant landscape. And as a reminder, there is no such animal as NO MAINTENANCE. All landscapes require some degree of care. Turf requires spring and fall aeration along with 2-3 fertilizations per year. Keep the grass TALL as possible and allow clippings to remain (they act as compost and rebuild the soil). Prune only as needed to maintain shape and remove dead limbs and branches. Keep weeds from taking over and maintain that mulch!!
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Plant of the Month: Texas Mountain Laurel

A beautiful native, hardy, rugged and drought tolerant small tree is the native Texas Mountain Laurel. Evergreen and rugged, the Mountain Laurel rewards us with beautiful, fragrant blooms each spring (just around the corner). Not much bothers this tough plant. It needs to be kept on the dry side and not overwatered…….not a problem for most of us. Full sun areas are best to maximize foliage and blooms. They do not grow quickly so install a size that makes you happy now!

Landscape Tips for February

Prune Knockout Roses and other bush type roses from the middle of the month to the end of February.
Do a full irrigation check and audit prior to March 1.
Add mulch to any bare areas.
Put your FREEZE PLAN in effect.
Resist the urge to prune your freeze damaged plants back really hard. Pruning encourages new growth. If you do prune back, consider adding mulch to keep them “toasty”.
Do not hard prune crape myrtles. Only remove dead or crossing branches.
Order compost for early top dressing of lawns. A great treatment for your turf!

Ornamental Grasses-Cutting Back

Although all of our ornamental grasses are brown and sad looking, consider that those browned leaves are actually protecting a tender growing point on the grasses. If you can wait until the hard freezes are past to cut them back, they are much more protected. Hardest hit with freezes are the single grasses which are planted individually and have no surrounding buildings or wind breaks. Wait as long as you can to do the cut backs.

Greater Texas Landscape Services

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Need assistance updating your Landscape Guidelines? Let us help.
Debby Cole 512-626-0600

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